Back in 2000, I wrote articles about why you should write one blog post a day.
After all, the search engines favored sites with more content.
If you had 50 blog posts after 50 days, that’s 50 potential topics you could rank on and drive links to.
Most people didn’t have the discipline to write 100 blog posts in 100 days— any more than follow through on their New Year’s resolution.
So the top bloggers and SEOs encouraged us to these “blogging challenges”.
And as ranking in search engines became more competitive, you had to have sites with thousands of quality pages, even for niches.
Until the link farms came along.
And then the content farms that would “spin” articles, causing the search engines to put great emphasis on quality.
Google even had a Quality Score, while we had a Quality Index at Yahoo.
So the game changed such that having one amazing piece of content was better than 1,000 articles written by some freelancers.
That amazing article, which actually deserved to rank for that query, would disproportionately get traffic, compared to the junk sitting on the 34th page of Google.
You’ve probably heard the joke about the best place to hide a dead body– the second page of Google.
And you know also that the first result on the first page gets the lion’s share of traffic– 33% of all search traffic according to Search Engine Land.
Ten years later and history repeats itself.
The initial players in social were advocating posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever channels X times per day.
The run-of-the-mill agencies sold packages (and still do), where they will blindly post X times per day.
They see their organic traffic falling— then decide to post even more often to counter the decline.
Like flooring the accelerator when the emergency brake is engaged, they don’t realize they’re making matters worse.
By posting even more often, they’re feeding the algorithm even worse content.
Since the bar for what was okay at 7 posts per week is much lower for what’s acceptable at 21 posts per week.
A wave of auto-posting tools (especially on Twitter and LinkedIn) proliferate.
Now, you as a business can sit back, while the tool pumps out thousands of posts automatically, following and unfollowing, and sending bot messages.
It’s a spammer’s dream— and millions of small businesses have unwittingly participated in this scheme to spam.
Most businesses get 3-5% reach on Facebook with each post.
So if they have 1,000 fans, they can expect that 30-50 people will see each post.
They blame Facebook for their spam not working, claiming Mark Zuckerberg is greedy and forcing everyone to buy ads or get shut out.
Meanwhile, Rome is burning– and their search engine traffic is declining, with the real estate for search results being dedicated to ads being higher than social.
As there is even more garbage being published on Facebook (and especially Twitter), the algorithms become even pickier than before.
The penalty for negative feedback grows to 100X that of a positive one.
In other words, a “hide post”, “hide all posts”, “report spam”, or “unlike page” needs 100 likes to offset the weight.
And we know that this penalty will continue to increase over time.
And as we saw with search, Facebook has used a quality filter, powered by AI, to decide what is worthwhile to serve.
Expect to see the “quantity-minded” marketers get penalized, while the “quality-minded” marketers rejoice.
History repeats itself.
So if you’re not posting X times per day, blogging based on a calendar, or reacting to the latest news, what is the RIGHT way to produce quality?
There’s all this talk about the importance of “good” content, but what exactly does this mean?
We believe in a combo of a content calendar, a Topic Wheel, and spontaneous (news + curation) content working together. Most companies do just one of the three models of content production, but you’ll have greater power when you combine all three.
- A Content Calendar is great for seasonal businesses and campaigns that are timed by date– Black Friday, summer blowouts, product launches, and events. Usually, great revenue generators because they rely upon sales and stack upon the power of other channels (TV, radio, in-store, etc).
- A Topic Wheel is fantastic for building evergreen content that is triggered by user action– lead magnets, autoresponders, inbound marketing efforts, SaaS/recurring products, and software companies. Excellent at building loyalty because this technique amplifies word of mouth into sales (collecting what customers are saying about you and distributing their words).
- Spontaneous Content Production is excellent for publishing businesses that have to produce hot, fresh content– today’s sports scores, commentary on current events, opinion pieces, and general blogging. This is the easiest place to start because it doesn’t require a structure in advance, can be done by individuals versus teams, and allows you the flexibility to jump on the latest trends. Thus, you’ll want to take advantage of content that is driven by dates, user actions, and current events.
Are you just producing content, or are you producing GOOD content?